Review: A woman from Dean's past needs help. The brothers face their strangest enemy yet...will Dean overcome personal issues in time to save Sam and the woman he loved. If you like Dean as a protector you'll love this. Sam/hurt,Dean/angst,sexual content and swearing, lots of humour
This is my first so I appreciate feedback. It's slightly twisted in places but that's me!
I don't own anything.
The sound of the cell phone ringing brought him reluctantly out of his dreams. For once he was having a sound nights sleep and it was accompanied by a not too unpleasant dream about dinner and drinks at the Playboy Mansion. Certainly not too shabby as far as his subconsciousness had been treating him lately.
Even as he awoke and checked the cell display to see that it was only 4am he had a smirk on his face remembering the good time he'd been having with Heff and the girls.
Pulling himself into a sitting position, Dean frowned at the display once more.
"Oh this can't be good..." he muttered to himself as he flipped the phone open.
"Hey Bobby, what's up?"
By now Sam was awake and rubbing his eyes, looking at Dean expectantly.
"What is it? Dean?"
Dean shot him a warning glance. "Sure thing Bobby," he cast a glance at the cell in his hand. "In like three hours. OK, see you then."
Dean clicked off the phone and switched on the bedside lamp illimunating the cheap room with a faint glow.
Sam cast him a questioning glance.
Dean shot out of bed, suddenly revived and slapped Sam on the shoulder. "Come on Sleeping Beauty, we gotta go."
"Was that Bobby? What did he want?"
"I dunno." Dean threw the last over his shoulder as he began stuffing clothes into his duffle bag.
"What do you mean, you don't know? What's so important he wakes you up at 4am...where are we going?"
Dean turned, exasperated and threw a pair of jeans at Sam's head. "He didn't say, ok? He just said we had to get to his as soon as we could and that was it."
Grabbing the jeans from where they were tangled over his shoulders, Sam reluctantly got out of bed and followed the lead of his brother who was throwing on the first clothes that came to hand.
"He didn't tell you what he wanted? Not even a clue?"
Dean, was really pissed now. "I swear, ever since you were a kid, you asked too many damn questions! It's Bobby ok? You don't ask questions with Bobby, if he needs us, you better be damn sure we're not gonna ask why, we just go. Satisfied?"
Rolling his eyes Sam finally seemed to have a fire burning under him, and by the time that he had his jeans on Dean was already at the door, holstered up and with his duffle slung over his shoulder.
Taking a last withering look at Sam he opened the door and went to go load up the car.
Gunning along the road, they sat in silence the majority of the way apart from the usual rock anthems and a brief stop to pick up coffee at an all night diner en route.
Within the promised 3 hours they were turning into Bobby's salvage yard. Bobby stood waiting for them, shutting the large metal entrance gate behind the Impala.
Dean pulled up by the house and cut off the engine. By the time the brothers had got out of the car, Bobby was approaching.
"Hey boys." he gave each of them a hug.
"Hey Bobby". Sam responded. He shot a glance at Dean who was all business and they moved to follow Bobby into the house.
"So, Bobby, what's up?" Dean asked immediately, he could see from Bobby's expression that it was something serious and he was bracing himself for whatever he was about to say.
"It's not me boys, it's someone else that needs your help. Badly."
Dean felt slightly reassured that Bobby wasn't in any kind of trouble. He needed a good hunt and could feel the adrenaline begin to pump in his veins when considering all of the options. Would this be a demon, a werewolf? Whatever it was, he was itching to get going.
"Ok, you know we'll do whatever we can to help Bobby. " Dean spoke as he took a seat at the edge of Bobby's desk.
"Yeah, sure." Sam replied with more trepidation.
Bobby seemed to take a moment to collect himself, taking his cap off to scratch his head he took a deep breath and when he looked up it was directly into Deans eyes. Dean tensed immediately.
"Bobby? What is it?"
"Not what, who."
Sam was clearly confused as he looked from one mans face to the other. What the hell was with all this cloak and dagger stuff?
Dean cocked his head to one side quizzically. Bobby's gaze never wavered.
Dean's head snapped to attention and his eyes widened. Clearly not the name he had been expecting to hear Sam thought to himself.
"Who's Holly?" Sam asked still looking from one to the other although they were both patently ignoring him.
Bobby placed the hat back on his head and wearily took a seat.
"She called me last night Dean, she's in trouble. Big trouble. She needs you."
Sam's gaze settled on his brothers face. Dean had gone pale and he was rubbing the bridge of his nose between his right thumb and forefinger.
"What, what's wrong with her?" Dean finally asked.
"Er, Dean, who's Holly?" Sam tried again. But again neither seemed to notice he was still in the room.
"She didn't say, but she's in trouble that the police can't help her with, and..."
Dean stood up from his perch, his body suddenly like a colied spring. "And what Bobby?"
"Dean..." Sam was getting a bit pissed off with this now, he didn't like being kept out of the loop, especially if he considered that nothing the Winchesters got involved in was ever simple and his life coould come crashing down around him at any time.
Bobby gestured over his shoulder into the next room "She asked me to pick up a few things for her."
Dean , again, looked questioningly at Bobby as he moved into the next room, Sam trailing behind.
He didn't know what he expected to find but it certainly wasn't good news when he got there.
In the middle of Bobby's Den stood an empty fold up bed encased in a white sheet. Next to that stood an IV stand and a tray of crude surgical instruments. The kind of make shift O.R you'd expect in an army camp. The kind you would expect an ex-army medic to set up.
Dean returned to Bobby's side in a flash.
"What's happened? Did she say? Is she hurt or someone else?" Dean asked urgently.
Sam stood exasperated to one side. "Dean, are you going to tell me who this woman is? Who the hell are we talking about?"
"Dammit Sammy, shut your cakehole for one second, and let me get some answers."
Bobby rose from his seat. "Haven't you told him?"
"Told me what Bobby? Dean?" Sam was more frustrated than ever.
"Bobby, just tell me what she said." Dean's voice was raised now.
"She didn't say much, I think she was worried her call was being traced. She asked me to set up what you saw through there, though not in so many words. She didn't sound good Dean, I think she's hurt, said she would explain when she got here."
"When's that? who's with her?" Dean persisted.
"She'll be here soon. Alone."
Sam had had it by now and was almost hopping with impatience. Dean turned to face him and gave him a warning glance which Sam countered solidly. Without words, he was saying that he wasn't moving until he got an answer.
The brothers faced each other off for what seemed an eternity, Sam wanting answers, Dean not willing to give them.
The stand off was interrupted by an ulmighty crash outside in the yard. Everyone turned in unison for a second, thinking what could cause such a noise, it seemed to carry on for long seconds until it came to an abrupt stop. The air permeated only by the faint sound of music.
The first to move was Dean, he threw himself toward the door and burst off the porch at a run, taking in the scene in front of him before running at a full sprint toward the perpertrator of the crash.
When Sam emerged into the daylight he saw Dean running toward a red pick up truck which had crashed through Bobby's large gates and into the yard. The driver had lost control and hit a stack of cars at full tilt. The cars had collapsed on top of the pick up, crushing the roof.
The faint shound of music was coming from the car stereo but otherwise the dust was settling and it was silent.
Dean was already at the car by the time that Sam sprinted over. His older brother was trying to wrench open the passenger door with his bare hands yelling expletives when it refused to give. The roof had buckled the door frames and the driver was trapped inside.
Looking around him Dean searched for something to wrench the door away from the frame. He couldn't see anything and the window was so crushed it wasn't wide enough for him to fit through.
Sam heard Dean yell the name "Holly" through the small opening. No response came. Desperate for a way through, Dean slid over the still intact hood of the truck and landed neatly on the drivers side.
Sam stood alone on the passenger side and looked in. He saw a woman unconscious across the front bench. She was lying flat on her back, with the crushed roof barely inches from her chest. Her head was toward Dean and Sam could barely get a good look at her. She had a cut to her head and she was covered in blood although too much for the head wound. Sam saw the tell tale holes in her clothing. She'd been shot at least twice by the look of her.
Sam and Dean were on either side of the truck pulling at the doors. Bobby had come out but there was little he could do.
Dean had leapt onto the hood and was trying his best to kick in the windscreen which had remained intact despite the crash. Finally it came loose as a whole and he eased it out passing it to Sam who took it and threw it to the ground.
Dean disappeared head first into the truck, his legs poking out of the gap that the windscreen had left.
Sam watched through the passenger window. His brother was just barely able to touch Holly and it was frustrating the hell out of him.
"Holly, it's Dean, wake up Godammit." He shook her shoulder which was the only part that he could reach.
Sam longed to help him but the doors were stuck tight and there was barely enough room for Dean let alone him.
"Holly. I swear to God, I can't get you out unless you wake up and help me." He shouted..."C'mon you stubborn bitch! Get the hell up and gimme your hand!"
Finally Sam could see the woman stirring. Her long brown hair had been covering her face, matted in the blood from the cut but now as she turned her head, he could see her clearly. Her lashes fluttered open and she groaned putting a hand to her head, then her stomach.
"Holly, it's Dean."
She turned her head slowly, she was dazed but when she saw Dean she squinted slightly then seemed to take him in with large green eyes.
She seemed to come round. "Dean?" barely audible but at least she seemed to recognise him. Sam wished he could say the same of her but there would be plenty of time for that later when they managed to get her out of this.
Dean's voice was serious, less anguished, more controlled. He had a job to do and he was damn well going to do it. "Holly, look at me."
She tried to focus but it was obvious to Sam that she was in a lot of pain and barely hanging on to consciousness.
"Look at me damit. I need you to take my hand." Dean said as he stretched forward pressing his body into the small space between the dash and the roof. "Holly, Bobby's here, he's going to fix you up." he promised. "Take my hand and I can get you out of there."
Feebly her left hand reached up but then jabbed back to her side to cover the bullet wound that was steadily pumping out blood.
"I know sweetheart but you have to do it, just reach up and take my hand, I'll pull you through."
She gritted her teeth and Sam knew it was now or never, if they didn't get her out she would pass out from blood loss. She could die before they found another way to her. Reaching up in an all or nothing movement she caught hold of Dean's hand.
Her hand was slick with blood but Dean knew that he would never let go. "Sammy! Grab hold of my legs and pull when I tell you."
Sam bolted around to the front of the truck and prepared to pull his brother out of the wrecked car. Dean was trying to encourage Holly to move. He had to get her to meet him halfway but her body was less than responsive.
"Just an effort, I got you, just try to sit up a little, there, that's it. OK reach up with your other hand."
Screaming gutterally like a wounded animal, she had managed to reach up to Dean who now had his arms around her chest and was bracing himself to pull her out.
"Ok, now Sammy, pull me out."
Sam pulled slowly on Deans ankles and watched as more of his body emerged from the wreckage. His torso was covered in Holly's blood and he tried to ignore her screams as he pulled her through the small gap, every tug tearing at the wound in her side.
Finally he was sliding feet first off the hood and he landed deftly on his feet, still holding Holly beneath the arms. She slid off the hood into his arms.
Trying to centre her weight in his arms, Dean looked down in uncharacteristic tenderness at her face resting on his shoulder.
"I told you I'd get you out."
He saw the puzzled look on Sam's face and hoisting the now-fainted woman in his grasp he set off quickly for the house.
Pre-empting Sam's inevitable question but refusing to look him in the eye, he said to his little brother.
"Sam, meet Holly Winchester. My wife."
Sam paused, dumbfounded but knew that there was no time for questions. He followed Dean who was trotting toward the house with his wife in his arms.
Bobby was already inside prepping his medical kit.
"Get her on the bed." He ordered Dean, snapping on a pair of surgical gloves.
Dean gently lowered the prostrate woman onto the bed, taking care to set her head down gently. Bobby had to crouch slightly to examine her.
He began to look her over.
"Roll her onto her side." He ordered, with Dean complying, rolling her to face him.
When Bobby touched the wound in her back her eyes flew open but this time she didn't scream. Dean had a hold of her shoulders and legs and was looking into her eyes, willing some of his strength into her.
Finishing his examination Booby stood up sighing. "The bullet in her side passed straight through but the one in her leg is still there. What the hell have you gotten yourself into girl?" He turned his attention to Sam for the first time who was still in shock standing on the sidelines. "There's whiskey in the kitchen, I have a feeling she'll be needing it." Sam moved slowly as though he wasn't taking it all in.
Turning to Dean Bobby handed him a pair of scissors from the tray next to him.
"You better cut her clothes off. I'm gonna need to see what I'm doing."
Dean took the scissors trying not to think about the last time he had seen Holly undressed. Now was not the moment. He caught her looking at him, a thin veil of sweat covering her face. She was silently pleading with him to stay strong for her sake. He couldn't bear to think of the pain she must be in despite any differences they may have. No, he'd get her through this any way that he could, that was his job after all, he'd think of the consequences later.
Sam reappeared with the bottle of whiskey just as Dean was cutting through Holly's jeans. She remained stoic grimacing only slightly as Dean moved the scissors robotically.
Sam, felt uncomfortable, his hand punching a hole into his pockets as he remained sidelined by these developments. Demons he could deal with, naked sister-in-laws he didn't know existed, not so much!
Dean finished undressing Holly who was thankfully wearing some undergarments under the jeans and tee-shirt. Sam wasn't surprised to see she had a couple of tattoos, she was Dean's wife after all - what would he expect? What he was surprised to see was the other marks on her body, not fresh like these injuries. He frowned. Some of them were real old scars, deep too. Had his brother married a Hunter? She didn't look the part, she was small, slightly built but he could see that despite this she had real fire to her character.
With no further ado, Bobby leaned down close to Holly's face placing a hand on her head.
"Don't worry, we'll get you all fixed up in no time. Whatever's happened, we'll deal with it, you just gotta concentrate on getting well. Now, I have to get this damn bullet out your thigh and I ain't gonna lie, it's gonna hurt like a bitch so you scream as much as you want, there's no one here but us to hear you. Here, have a few swigs of this, it should help."
Dean took the whiskey bottle and held Holly's head up as she placed her mouth over the top of the bottle. He tried not to notice how her lips curved seductively over the rim. Christ what the hell was wrong with him?
She took a few more swigs grimacing as the liquid poured down her throat then lay back down.
Bobby took the bottle and nodded at Dean and Sam who instinctively took up position at either end of the bed. Sam held Holly's ankles and Dean crouched down behind her head bracing her shoulders.
As Bobby took the whiskey and poured it over the bullet hole she reflexively went to kick her legs but Sam held them fast. Her hands shot up behind her and took hold of Dean's biceps, holding on for dear life. She bit her lip so hard a trickly of blood escaped but her eyes remained on Bobby giving him the all clear.
Bobby didn't waste any time in getting the bullet out and it was all over in minutes. Holly had kept the leg still thanks to Sam but her knuckles were white from kneading
Dean's flesh so hard. She didn't scream once though, much to Sam's admiration.
"Ok" Bobby stood straight once more and everyone relaxed slightly. "Got it," he said dropping the bullet with a clink into a tumbler on the tray. "Let's get some more whiskey into the girl and get her cleaned up before we close the wounds. Sam, get some water boiling. I'll get some towels." He left Dean to administer the whiskey to his wife.
Dean sat on the edge of the old bed bracing Holly's shoulders with his scratched and sore arm while he poured the whiskey into her mouth with the other.
"I know this isn't the time but you do realise that once you get out of this, I am going to give you an almighty kick in the ass." He said with a smirk.
She smiled despite herself. "Dean, always with the humour."
"Ha, you think I'm jokin', you better freakin' believe I'm serious. I don't see you for almost 2 years and you show up shot to hell?! You always were a pain in the ass Holly."
"You don't mean that Dean. There were good times too."
She was looking slightly the worse for knocking the whiskeys back so Dean took the bottle away, looking down at her in the crook of his arm he couldn't believe he was seeing her again. He hadn't expected to.
He was snapped away from his thoughts when the others returned with towels, fresh linen and hot water.
Dean proceded to wash the blood away from Holly's body who was watching him intently. Sam paced the room in obvious discomfort.
"You better get washed up too boys, no germs from here on in. I'll give you five minutes then I'll expect you back here."
Dean and Sam dutifully complied and returned 5 minutes later washed and in clean clothes retrieved from the car. Holly's eyes followed Dean as he moved towards his post. He winked at her and despite herself she had to smile.
"Ok, ya'll ready for this?" Bobby looked down at Holly who was suddenly looking grey again. "I'm going to have to clean these wounds up pretty good before I can stitch them so maybe that will teach you not to get shot and drive 500 miles before getting someone to look at them."
He meant to be harsh but he had always been fond of Holly and couldn't keep the benign smile from his face.
Setting to work, Bobby managed to clean the bullet wound in her leg to his satisfaction but the one in her side was more problematic. It was hard to reach and passed from front to back, not to mention the fact that it was infected. Bobby had seen a lot of bad injuries but it never got any easier to deal with so he braced himself mentally.
"Dean, I need her to sit up so I can reach this sucker."
Dean pulled her legs over the side of the bed and then lifted her body towards him. He crouched in front her, her hands resting lightly on his shoulders and her gaze never leaving his. When Bobby cut some of the infected flesh away from her back though she clung to Dean and screamed into his shoulder. The sound cut through him but he held her tight until the moment passed and soon she went limp in his arms. He glanced up at Sam who had a hand clamped to his mouth like it was almost too much to bear. Dean, never flinched and continued to squat there until Bobby had put the last stitch in.
When it was done, everyone breathed a sigh of relief that it was over.
"I'll change these sheets," said Bobby indicating the blood soaked linen. "Sam, I think we could all do with something to eat and drink. There's food in the fridge and whiskey left over. We can keep an eye on her from the kitchen."
When Sam left the room Bobby turned to Dean, "I'm proud of you boy, you could've gone to pieces but you held it together back there. It must have been a shock but it's not over yet. Whoever did this to her had a good enough reason to want her dead so I doubt they'll stop at this. They'll want to come get her. You ready to fight for her?"
Dean sighed, raising his eyebrows. "She didn't want me fighting for her then, what makes you think things will be different now?"
"Dean, pull your head out of your ass, you've been fighting for everyone but yourself all your life and this little girl was the only one until Sam who returned that favour and you could do well to remember that. Now, lift her up so I can get these sheets on."
It was always tough to argue with Bobby but there were always two sides to every story Dean thought to himself as he bent down to pick Holly up.
Whilst Bobby changed the sheets Dean stood stock still holding his wife in his arms still not believing that she had appeared back in his life in such a dramatic way.
She barely weighed a thing, she never really had which was why he had always wanted to protect her, it was his "thing", he did it for Sam, for everyone they ever crossed paths with, hell, even his own father. If he couldn't do that then what was he? But Holly was always wanting to prove how tough she could be and no one could imagine what she had gone through in life. When it came down to it she had left not believing that he could keep her safe, or maybe believing that he was more of a liability to her than anything else. She had thought she would be better off alone.
So be it, he thought placing her back onto the clean bed. Thinking what a fitting analogy that was about making a bed and lying in it.
They sat at the kitchen table, plates of sandwiches in front of them remaining untouched in favour of a slug of whiskey. It was almost noon and no one had had much sleep and the morning had been full of drama even by their standards. There was no getting away from it thought Dean grimly, Sam wanted answers.
His little brother was practically growling at him as he sat down which didn't go unoticed by Bobby who retrieved some food and drink and made his excuses, going to his room for a rest.
Sam sat patiently glowering as he waited for Dean to talk to him.
"Dude, stop staring at me like that, you're making me uncomfortable." Dean squirmed.
"You're married?!" he exploded, then remembering Holly next door, continued more quietly. "What the hell Dude? You, of all people."
Dean cast him a glance from beneath his brows and bit into a sandwich in an effort to buy some time. He really didn't need this, but he also knew that there was no avoiding it.
"Why didn't you tell me Dean?" Sam's palms were beating on the table top begging for attention.
Dean discarded the sandwich and took a slug of whiskey.
"I guess, because I don't feel very married. Marriage is all white picket fences and two point four kids, that was never me, it sure as hell isn't Holly."
"You still could have told me."
"Yeah, well, we were looking for Dad and then with the whole thing with Jess it didn't seem right, you get that?"
"That's why we should have talked about something so huge Dean, I was in pain and you could have shared your experience with me."
"What the hell Sammy? My wife left me, Jess died, that's not the same thing." He smiled "Besides, angst and brooding is your thing."
Sam ignored him. "Well, tell me now. How did you meet? How did you wind up married? Did Dad know?"
"Jeez Oprah, wanna give a guy a sec here? What does it matter now? It's over. We haven't seen each other in 2 years, and even when she was in trouble she called Bobby, not me."
"Who you trying to convince Dean? I saw you trying to get her out of that truck. All the things we see and I've never seen you that scared."
"Whatever, I'm not leaving until you give me some answers. I think you owe me that much if we're going to be risking our asses to save this girls life."
Dean sighed, defeated. "I met Holly on a job I did with Dad, she was a waitress, the usual. I picked her up, we spent some time together, got drunk and got married. End. Of. Story."
"Uh-uh, I'm not buying it Dean, that's the story with most of the girls you meet, well, except for the marriage part. There's something different. Is she a Hunter?"
"Why would you say that?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe all the scars she has and the fact she turns up at Bobby's, a fugitive ridden with bullet holes?"
"That don't mean anything," Seeing Sam's look..."What? That can happen to civilians!"
"For God's sake Dean, it wouldn't hurt for you to share once in a while."
"God man, you're so gay."
Sam shot Dean a look and sat back in his chair with his arms folded obstinately.
Dean stood up and began to pace the room. "She is a Hunter, sort of." He looked at Sam pointedly. "She doesn't hunt things that we do, she hunts humans."
Sam sat forward frowning. "Not like those freak hill billies that took me?"
"No dude, she tracks serial killers." Dean raised his brows. "So our paths crossed in California one summer and it wound up we were tracking the same thing and when she realised it wasn't her type of thing, she tagged along with me and Dad, doing research...helping."
Sam snorted. "Dad allowed a girl to hunt with you and him? I don't believe it."
Dean shrugged "Believe what you want but she's one of the best at what she does. Not many people have the same instincts she does. Hell of a set of balls on her too. So to speak."
Sam thought for a second trying to process this new information. "Dean, she must be, what? 26, 27? How the hell does someone like her get into hunting serial killers?"
"Sam, that's another story for another time, put it this way though, you think our childhood sucked, you ain't heard anything til you hear about hers."
Sam didn't want to let it go but he had to concede some battles. "So at least tell me how you wound up getting married."
In spite of himself Dean had to smile. "Well that part is true - we were very drunk!"
Sam shook his head in disbelief, when Dean caught this, he paused. "Ok, so after the job in Cali, I kind of wanted to branch out, Holly had her gig and I had mine and our paths just kinda crossed. We ended up spending more time together than apart. Hey, it made sense at the time."
"So what happened?"
"Look, Sammy, I'm beat. I don't want to talk about this any more. Why don't you get some rest and I'll wait for Holly to wake up and maybe we can find out what happened."
Sam could have talked for longer but he knew when Dean had said his fill and he didn't want to push him.
Later, after Sam had crashed out on the couch and he could hear Bobby snoring loudly 2 rooms away, Dean went to sit at Holly's bedside. He put a hand to her head, feeling a slight fever, he frowned. Bobby had hooked up the IV and give her some antibiotics, but Dean was still worried by her fitful state. Despite everything that had happened he felt nothing but anger towards whoever had done this and wanted to find out who it was as soon as possible so he could go and kill the sucker, but he also knew that it could be a long hunt because of the nature of Holly's "job".
Looking at her now sleeping and wounded he found it hard to believe that she was so fearless and so willing to track down the crazy sons of bitches who raped and murdered people all over America but that's what she did every day. He couldn't help but admire her but also hated the fact that he wasn't able to keep her from danger. It was one thing for him and Sam to go out and do what they did but hell, it was in their blood. Maybe it was that way for Holly too. He would never be able to truly understand how damaged she was by her experiences. Maybe it was better that two people like themselves stay away from each other as much as possible.
By early evening everyone had started to wake up, hungry, thirsty and refreshed. Except for Holly. Through the day, her fever had worstened and Dean had eventually roused Bobby who had come to give her more medication and check change her dressings.
Propped up on the bed, Holly had a red flush to her cheeks and her breathing was laboured. Dean, hated watching her like that and found it hard to sit still. She inevitably noticed this and wanted to put him at ease.
"I guess you want to know what happened?" She said to no one in particular. Sam raised his head in interest and Dean stopped his pacing.
"I guess that would help." Offered Sam sympathetically.
Dean grunted but pulled up a chair next to the bed and waited.
Shifting uncomfortably she took a deep breath. "I was tracking this killer across two different States, he's real clever, changes MO's moves around a lot. It's been going on a long time. I guess no one could really see the pattern and the police didn't seem interested in seeing a link and some of the cases involved had gone to the Feds. Anyway, I always kept this one on the back burner waiting for something else to come up. I was doing other jobs, mostly with some success, helping the police. Anyway, I caught an abduction in a small town about 5 hours from here, it's called Sherwin, population of just a thousand, unremarkable until this abduction." Holly stopped to cough, clutching at her side as she did so, Dean made a motion to move towards her but she shot him a glance to say she was ok.
"This girl disappeared on her way home from school, she was fourteen, real nice girl you know. So she goes missing. Again it doesn't seem strange but something about it seemed to ring true with the other cases. In all the cases the people were taken first, in public places where you would think there would be witnesses but there never was. The victims had nothing in common except for the fact that they would show up dead a few days later. All the time, they were killed a different way."
"So how did you make the connection?" Sam was hooked.
"You kind of get to thinking, who could snatch grown men, mothers, children in public and not be noticed. Got to be suspiscious right? At one point I thought it may have been your kind of gig but then the more I thought about it the more that they all made sense. When I plotted out the locations they were all near wooded areas, all of the victims were taken in broad daylight and all of them must have been kept somewhere right? So I started looking into it a bit more. In all of the cases the victims lived in smaller communities that were far enough apart that no one would guess you had a serial on their hands, especially as they were spread out over the years. I did some looking into it, and talked to the mother of Kelly Anne Rance who was the last victim. Kelly Anne had been late at school because she was working on a committee." She paused for effect, looking at each one of them in turn. "Kelly Anne was part of the committee who decorated the school float for the town parade which happens each year. So I go back and look at the cases and there it is. Each time there was a murder it was a week when they had some sort of town celebration."
Everyone was looking non-plussed, sighing, she continued, "So I was thinking, who would go unnoticed during an event like that?"
"Don't say clowns!" Joked Dean, getting a filthy look from Sam.
"You would think practically everyone, but it's not the case. You work this long enough and you get a nose for these things. At any time, a stranger comes into town with no viable reason and someone will notice, these are small towns after all. Nothing ever came up and then it occurred to me. The State Police are often drafted in to provide extra security for these events and they are also called in if there's a big murder case.
Ok, go with me on this guys because I have done my homework and if I wasn't right then I wouldn't be sitting here resembling a cheese grater would I? So it's still a hunch at this point but I start to do a little background checking and in the two States, one name keeps cropping up. Lewis Craven. His name came up in enough reports to make me suspicious so I dug a little deeper and it turns out that he was transferred at the time that the killings were happening in the neighboring State. He worked for a lot of these fairs, and got to know a lot of influential people in most of the towns that these things were happening. It also turns out that he likes to hunt during his down time, ironic huh?
So I took a job in a diner in Sherwin, I was there a couple of weeks, keeping my head down and at night staking out Craven and seeing if I could find out where his hunting cabin was. Apparently I didn't do such a bang up job of staying under the radar because I was out in the woods a coupla nights ago and he got me."
Holly lay back on the pillow exhausted. Dean's jaw clenched involuntarily. "So what happened?"
"It wasn't so bad really."
Sam furrowed his brow and looked at Dean as if to question her statement. Dean shrugged.
"Turns out he's your garden variety psycho, but I've picked up a few skills along the way and I can tell you that a little psychology goes a long way."
"How did you escape?" Sam asked
"A little trick your brother taught me a while ago involving a paper clip. I always keep one on me somewhere"
Dean looked pleased for a moment then asked how she'd gotten shot.
"Yeah, well, I'm pretty good when it comes to talking to these freaks but sometimes they just don't take to me all that well when I hit a nerve, usually to do with their dear Momma back home. So I pissed him off and he shot me in the leg."
Again, Sam was shocked by her matter of fact attitude. It was like he was listening to Dean.
"So, I managed to get myself uncuffed and tried to patch up the wound. I even hotwired the guys car, which is something else I can thank Dean for but then he came back from hunting and he found me. Before I could get away he got one extra good shot in."
"So if you took his car then why didn't he put out an APB on you?" Sam had come across a lot but this was a unique story.
"I guess because I was covered in his DNA he didn't really have a case unless he got to me first. " They all looked embarrassed "Not, that type of DNA, I got lucky."
Dean got up from his seat and started pacing again. "So where's this son of a bitch now?"
"Hell if I know, I just got out of dodge. "
"Why not go to a hospital and have them check you out rather than risk your life by driving all this way?"
"Don't you get it? These murders have been going on for years, I found the connection, why did no one else? OK so different MO's but this guy is a fruitcake, he has reports of misconduct coming out of his ears but he kept his job and even gets promoted. I don't know how far this goes...I can't just check myself into the hospital and then have someone give me a lethal dose of morphine that shuts me up for good. So that's why I called Bobby, I needed help. Even if I died here, I had to get to someone I could trust and let them know"
Sam coughed, he didn't like to be indelicate but he guessed she could handle it. "But any DNA test will be inconclusive now. We can't pin him down on anything and he probably has no permit for the gun that shot you."
"Sam, it's nice to finally meet you after all this time, you are a sweet guy and I hate to upset you but I don't want this guy to be arrested. I want to kill him."
Sam's eyebrows disappeared into his hairline. "I'm sorry you just seem so Ok with this."
"Believe me, I can take a lot of crap Sam, and I have because of what I do, but spending a couple of nights handcuffed to Kelly Anne Rance's dead body kinda put paid to the idea that I can let this guy live."
Since she had told her story, Sam had been frantically researching everything that he could and he had to admit that Holly had done a good job.
Unfortunately, he turned up the story saying that Kelly Anne Rance's body had been found and that Lewis Craven had gone missing. Some personal effects had been found by a river and he was presumed drowned. His death was thought to be ruled accidental as he often liked to hunt in the area and there was certainly no mention of a connection between the two events.
Following the story Bobby had gone out into the yard and with the help of Dean he had torn apart the stolen pick up looking for any kind of GPS tracking device. They hadn't found one but he had been glued to a police scanner since then to see if he could come up with anything, but it had been quiet.
Sam rubbed his sore neck. "Surely, even if he is alive then he won't be able to find Holly all the way out here, we checked the truck, there's nothing there and he can't walk into his local station and ask for help. Maybe he is dead."
"Since when is there divine intervention in these cases Sammy? You always were a Pollyanna. I say we head down to those woods, make sure that bastard is dead and if he isn't then I suggest we put a cap in his ass."
"Dean, I know how you feel, seriously I do but this isn't what we do. This is a human being Dean, we've been here before and it never ends well, maybe we should just inform the authorities."
"Are you off your meds? Since when do we let a monster go free? I don't care if this guy is human, he's still a freak and he deserves to get gone. On top of that, he could be looking for Holly right this minute. We can't just leave her to get killed by this maniac."
"Yeah, I get your point but Dean, does the phrase needle in a haystack mean anything to you? How the hell are we supposed to find this guy?"
"You heard what Holly said, he must have some inside help, so if we find out who's helping him, we find Norman Bates."
"And how do you plan on doing that?"
"Wit, charm and personality little brother. The Winchester way." He smirked "Well, at least the Dean Winchester way, ha!"
Bobby came into the room.
"Looks like she's settled for the night, she's pretty ill but I think she'll be over the worst in a couple of days."
"Thanks Bobby, good job. So we're going to lay up here tonight and head off first thing to see what we can do about this psycho bastard."
"Just one problem Dean" Bobby said looking apologetic. "You have to take Holly with you."
"You have to take her, I can't stay here, there's this job in Arkansas that can't wait, so someone has to take care of it."
"No way, uh-uh. You can't leave us with an injured woman on a hunt."
"Dean, how long you been hunting demons, since you were a kid? If you can't catch a freakin human and protect one woman between the two of you then you don't deserve to be called Hunters!"
"Christ Bobby, but she's a bad enough pain in the ass when she's well, how we supposed to look after her? Not to mention we'll be taking her straight back to the bastard that shot her in the first place."
"You should have thought of that on your wedding day Dean. You got responsibilities son whether you like it or not." Bobby shot him a glance and walked away.
Dean turned incredulously to Sam "Can you believe this? Why can nothing be simple?"
"He's not wrong Dean, you do have a responsibility. We can't leave her here and Bobby can't take her with him. What you gonna do?"
"Oh bite me!" Dean, sat down heavily rubbing his forhead roughly with his hand. "Arghh! This is freakin' impossible!"
"Calm down. You said yourself you took her on hunts before. We'll manage."
"If that's the way you feel Sammy then you can play Florence Nightingale, cos I sure as hell ain't!"
The next morning at day break, they woke early and loaded up the car whilst Bobby checked Holly over and made sure she had enough painkillers to get through the next few days.
Trying to give Dean instructions he was abruptly told to talk to Sam who would be taking care of the patient.
They were ready to go and Dean was dreading it. Bobby had hidden the remnants of the stolen pick up and was busy loading his own truck for the long road trip ahead of him.
Not able to put it off any longer Dean went into the den to see Holly who was sat on the edge of the cot. She didn't have any other clothes than those that Dean had cut off her so she was swamped in one of Sam's tee-shirts and was struggling to put on her boots. Her hair that hung to her waist was wild and her fever had left her skin flushed, yet she still managed to look good. God knew how.
She looked at him expectantly. "Ready to go?"
"I am, but if you think I'm hoisting your ass out of here, you're mistaken. You have no business joining us if you can't make it on your own two feet."
With that, he turned to leave, passing Sam on the way.
Sam frowned. He'd seen his brother acting like this before but this was on a whole new level. Turning to the den he saw Holly wincing as she struggled to her feet. Dashing in he caught her before she could fall.
Smiling at him wanly she put up a hand "Really Sam I can manage."
"You're worse than my brother." he laughed bending down to scoop her up.
Dean was scowling into the trunk of the Impala as Sam got Holly settled in the back with some pillows and a blanket.
"Thanks Sam, but I can't blame him for the way he's acting. It's not the best situation but don't worry, I can handle your brother. "
Sam didn't doubt that for a second.
Getting in the passenger seat, he watched as Dean slid in next to him slamming the door angrily and gunning the engine. He switched on the radio and ACDC began blasting out. This was going to be one long ride if Sam didn't intervene.
A half hour passed before Sam couldn't handle the silence any more. Turning round in his seat he faced Holly.
"So, I guess as we're kinda family now, we should get to know each other better." He glanced at Dean who scowled across at him.
"Drop it Sammy."
"No, Dean, he has the right to know something about the woman who attempted the impossible and tried to tame a Winchester. Go ahead Sam shoot..." she shifted uncomfortably "...although not literally."
"Ok, well, how did you get into hunting killers?"
Dean's demeanor was not improving. "Jeez Sam!"
"No, it's fine Dean, I don't mind. Unlike some people, my life is an open book. Well it's a long story, but basically I understand them and have spent years studying them so rather than trying to psychoanalize them in some jail I decided to go out and catch the bastards instead. I know, why huh? I don't think Dean likes me to talk about it but you have the right to know. When you were a teenager, you ever hear of a girl called Hayley Hart-Cooper?"
Sam thought for a second. "Yeah, I remember, she was a couple of years younger than me, got abducted by some guy, everyone thought she died til she turned up a couple of years later."
"Two years, four months, sixteen days and twenty two hours to be precise. I know because I counted."
It took a second but Sam grasped what she was saying. "You're Hayley Hart-Cooper?"
Holly nodded. "For my sins."
"I think I was in college when they found you. I don't think I caught the full story." Casting his mind back he turned to look at the road ahead, Dean remained silent. Finally Sam turned back with a start. Holly's unwavering glance welcomed him. "Didn't you kill the guy?!"
Holly held up her palms. "With my bare hands."
Sam let out a long breath of air trying to take in what he was hearing. He thought his life was full of surprises before but this was something else.
"Christ, I mean, how the hell didn't you go insane?"
"Maybe you should just drop it Sammy." Dean felt uncomfortable talking about this. In all honesty, he hadn't actually talked to Holly about it in much detail himself. He knew that she had her demons but he hated the thought of knowing what could have happened to her for that amount of time alone with a psycho.
"Yeah, I'm sorry, I guess it's not something you like to talk about."
"Actually, i don't mind so much, it helps. I think it's others that have a problem knowing what's out there, but I guess you know that right? You're not so different. Hell shit happens and you either become a victim or you fight back. It's a choice right Dean?"
"I don't remember Dad giving us much of a choice but hey, that's me."
Sam had so many more questions but he didn't dare ask, he didn't know if he wanted to find out what had happened. He decided to change the subject to another time.
"So afterwards, why did you change your name and take up this kind of job?"
"Well, the media were all over me, it was one heck of a story and my family couldn't cope. They thought I was dead for so long that you'd think they would have been overjoyed but I wasn't Hayley anymore, at least the one they knew and loved. So one day I left, changed my name and disappeared off the radar. I still write to them to let them know I'm ok but that part of my life had to be over if I had any chance of starting fresh."
"You don't want to go back?"
"Nah, they're good people and I love them but they're God-fearing and they don't want to know the things that I know and I can't hide them. It was easier to be with other people like me." She looked pointedly at Dean who stared into the road.
"So what happened after you left?"
"Well, there was money left from the search for me and compensation and stuff, so I took it and decided to start over. Went to college to study criminology. Regular stuff."
"Did your college friends know?"
"I didn't have that many friends, being locked up on your own for that long, you tend to be good with your own company."
Sam nodded, he understood what it was like but Dean hadn't been kidding when he said their childhood was a cakewalk compared to hers. At least they had each other growing up, he couldn't imagine what it must have been like for her having to rely on herself alone and at such a young age.
"So what happened when you graduated?"
"Well, there was one cop that I stayed in touch with, he had never given up on me, even when he thought he was just looking for my body. He was the one who I first talked to when I escaped. Normally it would have been a female counsellor but I felt we had some sort of connection. He was like a father to me when I left home, I mean, I could really talk to him. Can you believe they were going to prosecute me for killing the guy that kept me prisoner? He soon talked them out of that one"
She glanced again at Dean whose jaw was locked tight. "When I graduated, he used me as a consult on some cases, saw that it actually helped me to be doing something positive for others in the same position.
We worked together a couple of years, I travelled to different law enforcement agencies, then..."
Her voice trailed and for the first time Sam saw pure hurt in her eyes. "...well, he got killed. I just didn't really want to carry on then. Until I met Dean."
"Huh? What?" Dean glanced over his shoulder in surprise.
"Sure, I'd given up for a while, trying to live a normal life. Settled in California, got a job, an apartment and then someone started killing prostitutes. I couldn't help myself I had to do something, so I looked into the case and was working a lead when I ran into John and Dean. They kind of filled me in on the fact that it wasn't a Serial Killer but a different type of monster that we were dealing with. Eventually catching it was a joint effort and the rest is history." She grinned "So Sam, Dean never told you anything about me?"
"No, I didn't know until yesterday. It was a shock let me tell you, not only that my brother hunted with a woman but that he married her, I mean, as long as I've known him he's been..."
Dean coughed loudly interrupting whatever he was sure he didn't want Sam to say.
"Yeah, well, I guess that'll teach me. Never take a woman hunting with you Sammy. Nothing good will come out of it."
"Don't lie Dean, you loved it. I was a joy to be around."
"No you weren't, you were a pain in the ass then and far as I can tell, you still are."
"Yeah, well I didn't hear you complaining when I saved your cute little ass in El Paso."
Sam had been grinning at the exchange but now he was intrigued. "What happened in El Paso?" he twisted around in his seat like an eager toddler looking forward to hearing how his brother had been rescued by a woman.
Holly laughed, holding on to her side.
Dean, needless to say was not laughing. "You so didn't save my ass. I had a plan!"
"Yeah, right, develop super powers Dean? Or was the plan to just click your scarlet slippers together and say there's no place like home three times over?!"
Dean scowled "Woman, I got out of plenty of scrapes by myself."
"Sure Dean, have it your way, but your ass would be toast if it wasn't for me."
"Can it be true? Did the mighty Dean Winchester get saved by a giiiiiirl????!!" Sam was loving every moment. He intended to hear the story no matter what Dean had to say.
Holly seemed more than eager to share and shifted so that her head was closer to Sam in a conspiratorial way. "So Dean, was hunting this angry spirit in El Paso, routine kinda job. I was doing a gig in Phoenix and we'd agreed to meet up that day. So I get to the motel expecting Dean to arrive any time and he doesn't show so I'm getting worried. I call his cell and it's ringing with no answer. I check every bar I could find and nothing. So I am getting more frantic and so I start looking at his research and decide to go find him."
"Stupid." Dean muttered.
"It's a freakin' good job I did. So I get back in my car and I head to this disused factory where I thought I might find him."
"I had a crowbar!"
"Against an angry spirit? Bang up job!"
"Let me tell it." She slapped him on the shoulder and winced. " So I'm wandering around this factory and I can hear him." She laughed suddenly. Dean glowered harder.
"Heard him do what?" Sam was on the edge of his seat.
"I heard him singing." Now she really clutched her side.
"Singing?" Sam was incredulous. "Singing what?"
"I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight by Foreigner!"
Sam punched Dean in the arm "No way?!"
"Yeah, so there I am looking to see where this voice is coming from and I see that part of the floor is caved in. And so I look down and I see Dean in the basement covered in half a tonne of concrete, trapped."
"C'mon, don't exaggerate!"
"How long had you been there Dean? Huh?"
Dean rolled his eyes.
"So, I run down to him and find him singing away to himself cos he's just lying there with half a building on him and his phone is out of reach. I thought he was so badly hurt, I was going mad, he was just pissed at me for coming to get him."
"Was the spirit still there?" Sam asked.
"No, I salted that guys ass" Dean countered. "cos that's what I do. See? Job done"
"Yeah, whatever Dean, the fact remains that if it wasn't for me, you'd still be down there singing." She looked back at Sam, "It took me all freakin' night to get him out. I was hauling concrete for hours, with no help at all. My hands were scraped to hell and he's cursing me the whole time. Ungrateful jerk." She smiled to herself at the memory and her eyes clouded over. "Good times."
Dean and Sam both frowned at her.
"Yeah, whatever." Dean said angry again, recalling different, more painful memories.
Sam was dying to ask what split them up but he knew it was something he couldn't ask. Maybe he'd never know.
They rode the rest of the way in silence, Holly slept, Sam and Dean both lost deep in thought.
When they got within fifty kms of Sherwin they found a cheap motel to stop off in. It was mid-afternoon and they were all drained, hungry and thirsty.
Dean managed to get 2 rooms side by side and they pulled up in front.
Unpacking the trunk Dean put their belongings in the twin room with Sam bringing up the rear.
"Aren't you forgetting something Dean?"
Dean turned to face him, innocence personified. "What's that Sammy?"
Sam huffed and gestured toward the car where Holly was struggling to open the heavy rear door.
Dean grimaced and went back outside to stand in front of the woman with his hands in his pockets.
She looked up at him. "Don't be an ass Dean, c'mon gimme a hand."
Despite his attitude he was gentle as he picked her up and carried her to the adjoining room to which Sam had already opened the door.
"Guys, I'm going to get some food and drink." Sam held out his hand for the car keys.
Sighing Dean deposited Holly on the king size and threw Sam the keys.
Sam left, closing the door behind him.
Dean stood uncomfortably for a minute just looking at Holly propped on the bed wondering where they went from here.
"It's ok," she said nonplussed by his attitude, "you can check the TV for a porn channel. You know I never minded."
Dean's eyes narrowed dangerously but she still caught him glance at the Magic Fingers by the bed and knew what he was thinking.
Laughing to herself for still knowing him so well, she glanced toward the bathroom. "Actually, I could do with a bath, would you run one for me?"
Conceding defeat Dean shrugged off his coat and marched into the bathroom muttering "yeah, you need a bath, you stink!" Under his breath.
Holly lay back, exhausted.
"You know, Sam's amazing." She called through as she heard the water start running. "Really sweet guy. You sure you're related?"
Dean appeared, leaning against the door. "Eat me."
"Classy Dean. You know, we're going to have to talk about it sooner or later."
"Do we? What gave you that idea?"
"You're obviously still pissed at me so why not get it off your chest?"
"Lady, this isn't me pissed, you'll know when I'm pissed. This is me being indifferent."
"Right, did you feel indifferent when you pulled me out of that truck? Were you indifferent when I was shot up and screaming?"
He tried to look blank.
"I didn't think so. You know it's true what I said in the car, talking stuff through does help. Even if we do wind up tearing each other apart."
"What are you now? Dr Phil? You sound like Sammy."
"yeah, then maybe he's right."
"Look, you left, I dealt, end of story. I don't want to drag that back up again."
"And that's one of the reasons I had to leave Dean, you never want to discuss anything, everything has to be on your terms."
Dean retreated into the bathroom and turned off the taps. Seconds later he reappeared, angry as hell.
"Yeah, and maybe sometimes you should goddamn listen to me and you wouldn't wind up with a bullet going through you!"
"It's a dangerous job Dean, you can't kid yourself otherwise, we made the choice. But you were always more scared of losing someone close to you than about your own safety Dean, sometimes it's a two way street. I was scared too. You know, that's why I didn't call you yesterday, I didn't need the 'I told you so's', I just needed somewhere to turn, free of recrimination."
"So, I was just supposed to let you go off half cocked and get yourself killed?"
"No, you were supposed to trust me Dean, with you it was always a case of 'do what I say and not as I do'. I don't mind you worrying, but you gave me skills but never the opportunity to use them, even when it was to help you."
Dean was serious now. "I didn't want you to do that job Holly and I was right. It should have been my gig and you went against me."
"It was something I had to do Dean. On my own."
Dean shrugged "Nothing you can say will change what you did. So let's just drop it."
He sighed wearily rubbing at his face. Without a word he moved toward her and scooped her off the bed and into the bathroom.
Perching on the side of the bath, she looked at him, raising her arms unsteadily above her head. Taking the hint he pulled Sam's huge shirt over her head. Ignoring her nakedness, he began to remove her bandages then swung her into the bath.
She sunk as low as she could savouring the feeling of the clean water despite the stinging it caused her still raw wounds. She was used to pain.
Sitting up finally she took a tiny bottle of shampoo from the side of the bath and handed it to Dean who sat silently watching her.
He was done with fighting for now and couldn't deny her a simple pleasure after all that she had been through. He took the bottle and knelt by the bath removing his shirt as he did so.
Slowly he began to wash her hair, careful of the cuts to her head. The water ran red with dried blood but she ignored it, closing her eyes and enjoying the feeling of his calloused hands on her scalp. She pulled up her knees and rested her chin on them, sighing.
Pulling down the shower hose, he rinsed her off, his hand lingering longer than necessary on the nape of her neck.
Looking up she caught his eye, neither of them spoke as his face moved closer to hers. Breathing in deeply her lips barely brushed his neck as his hands dipped under the water and he lifted her out of the bath. She wrapped her arms around him and without speaking he carried her dripping wet back to the bed and laid her down on the crisp sheets.
Dean went to the bathroom and came back with his shirt back on and a towel which he draped over her, patting her down gently, careful not to open up old wounds, Easier said than done.
Getting up he let himself out of the room and returned moments later with some clothes and a First Aid kit.
For the first time in a long time, she felt calm and in control, no matter what she said to Dean and how frustrated she got with him, she always felt safer when he was there, more in control. Would she ever admit that? Would she hell!
He cleaned her leg and her side and added gauze. She was surprised at how gentle his touch was and how his brow furrowed as he worked. His hand lingering on an old scar, inflicted by a knife years ago. She wasn't ashamed by the scars and she knew that they had never mattered to Dean, God only knew he had enough of his own.
Finally when he was done, he handed her a pair of his boxers and a fresh t-shirt of his for her to wear.
It felt amazing to be clean again, and she felt much better for it.
The moment was broken by a knock at the door. Dean, got up and checked the spy hole, finally letting Sam in.
Sam paused at the door, looking between them, knowing that he had interrupted something and feeling awkward because of it. Visibly shrugging it off he set some bags down on the table and started unpacking soda, coffee and finally some food.
"Wow, you look better." he smiled at Holly, ignoring Dean's silence.
After an awkward night during which they had tried to do some research, getting nowhere Holly had fallen into an exhausted sleep.
Sam got up to go next door, he felt shattered too and was desperate for some shut eye. Dean followed him.
"Wait, Dean, are you not staying? You're leaving her alone?"
"Yeah, we're right next door Sammy, it's fine."
Sam knew better than to push Dean in his present mood and so they retreated to their room and went to bed in silence and Sam was asleep before his head hit the pillow. Dean wasn't so lucky.
He hadn't wanted to admit it but he didn't want to leave Holly alone but he knew that he couldn't share a bed with her either. So he resolved to stay awake with his trusty knife beneath his pillow listening intently for any strange sounds. He stayed fully clothed and ready to jump if he heard anything. Inevitably his mind wandered where he least wanted it to. To seeing Holly naked, wet and languid on the bed for one.
Snap out of it Dean, he thought to himself embarassed by his physical reaction to her after all this time. What was the point? What she wanted, he couldn't give her and what she needed she didn't want from him.
His mind whirred with recollections of them together. How they would meet in city's across the States sharing a few snatched moments. Nights in smoky roadhouses playing darts and pool. God, she was the perfect companion and he hadn't minded teaching her the things that he had. Long days spent in the woods shooting at targets had been like a holiday to him. They verbally sparred with one another and sometimes physically too as he'd shown her some basic combat skills he barely remembered learning from his father. Unlike most of the women he'd met, and Sam, his bad habits never seemed to iritate her too much, she didn't mind the music and he'd even put up with hers on occassion.
It was almost too perfect.
A situation ruined by their mutual stubborness and reckless nature. He was constantly terrified when she left to go out on her own, knowing the risks that she was capable of taking, but incapable of pinning her down and taking away her independence as it would always end up in a heated brawl. Even Sam never caused him this much grief.
He used to lie awake waiting for a phone call to check in with him and hated the fact that his happiness was reliant on someone else.
He also hated the fact that she had been right about El Paso but he would never admit to that. He had acted stupidly and hadn't staked out the factory well enough. He'd been cocky and it had almost gotten him killed. If she had been so stupid he would have torn her a new ass without question.
He shuddered as he remembered the feeling of being buried alive, of having to try to dig his way out but knowing it was useless. He had lain there trying not to admit his fear even to himself as he listening to his cell phone ringing just feet away, knowing that no help was coming.
If he was going to be honest, he knew Holly was going to come looking for him and the only way he had not given in to the fear was his utter faith in her determination. He knew that she wouldn't let him down and he was right because she was just like him in so many ways.
When she had finally found him, he wanted to cry with relief but he hadn't wanted her to see his vulnerability, hadn't wanted her to see him so helpless even though he knew she would never think less of him for it. So, he had done what he always did and he'd acted like a dick to save face. He only had his own pig-headedness to blame.
When she had found him, she'd gone mad for sure, but like the Hunter she had become, she checked first that the spirit was gone and then without question she went to the task of removing each piece of rubble painstakingly by hand. She didn't complain, not even when he'd bitched at why she was taking so long. He hated to think of her blistered and swollen hands even now, but he had known at that moment buried under that building that she was the woman for him. How could he not?
In the faint light of the room he raised his right hand and turned the thick silver ring around on his finger. Then he looked across at Sam.
Some you lose and some you win he thought grimly.
The next morning, they reconvened in Holly's room. Sam had to admit she was made of tough stuff. A man of his size couldn't have taken the bullets she had and be up and about 2 days later but there she was, limping heavily but up and out of bed. He didn't like to think of the fact that it probably wasn't the worst pounding she had ever taken but it was probably true. She had taken some pain killers but had joined in their discussion of where the case should go from there.
Dean had been adamant of the fact that Holly was not to be left alone and so it was decided that Sam would stay with her at the motel continuing with research and Dean would go and check out Sherwin. They had decided that he should go to the Sheriffs office and find out what he could about Craven and from there Holly had asked him to stop at the diner where she had briefly worked to pick up her things and to find out whether she had been reported missing or whether it was assumed that she had skipped town.
Full of instructions, Dean had made his exit leaving Sam on his laptop and Holly watching the TV.
For a while Sam pretended that he was concentrating hard but he kept casting casual glances in Holly's direction. It was obvious what Dean had seen in her, she was certainly attractive but it was her spirit that sparked his curiosity and the fact that she would take on his brother and beat him at his own game. He remembered that Dean had said she had balls but that was an understatement.
"Spit it out Sam." Holly said without looking at him.
She switched off the TV and turned on her good side to look at him.
"What's bugging you? I can tell that something is. So c'mon."
Sam flushed, embarrassed that he was caught out.
"I was just, um, thinking about..."
"What happened between me and Dean?" She finished.
"Well, yeah, I guess. I mean, you know he doesn't talk and it's killing me. I mean, you seem like you'd be a good match although when I still think of Dean being married it freaks me out. It's something he never seemed to want."
"You'd be surprised Sam, Dean's the best kind of family man there is. Right?"
"Well, I guess but it's different for me and him, we're kind of stuck together. It's the way it has to be."
"But he chose to get stuck to me? That's ok, I know what you mean, but I think some things about him would surprise even you. He's an amazing guy, the best. I still think so but stuff happens in life, especially when you're happy that just turn everything to crap."
Sam looked down shaking his head. "I shouldn't pry, it's between you and my brother."
"Like you said Sam, we're family, whether Dean likes it or not. He probably wouldn't want me telling you what happened but then if it was up to him he wouldn't ever tell anyone anything. Ok, so what happened to the two of us was my fault, I did something he didn't want me to do and rather than face the consequences I left."
Sam looked puzzled.
"I told you what happened to me when I was a kid right? Well, I've studied psychology and the criminal mind but it's the mind of the victim that is the most interesting to study sometimes.
The guy who took me was called Oscar Walden, and he was the first man I ever knew, and the last until I met Dean. Walden was my entire life when I was at my most impressionable. I was 16 when he took me from my room and I was so green it's shocking even to me. Of course I was terrified at first. He kept me tied up most of the time in the basement of his house, and when he came near me I was so scared it's unreal. I used to fight him all the time and he used to beat me for it."
Sam swallowed hard. It was like she was talking about another person rather than herself, she was so detached. "It's ok, you don't have to tell me."
"I do if you want to understand what happened between me and your brother.
So the fighting and the beatings went on for the whole of the first year, until one day it was really bad and he stabbed me. I thought I was going to die. I literally gave up when he left me bleeding to death in the little room. Then, the oddest thing happened. He saved me."
Sam was wide eyed now, listening with every ounce of his being.
"He had done this to me but then after a while he came back down and he patched me up as best he could. He brought me medecine, he brought me books and he took care of me. In his real life he was a janitor at the local college, just a normal guy but when he came back at night he would sit and read to me. He used to get the books from the library and in a weird way he was my education. From that time on even though I was always locked up he never beat me so badly again. I relied on him for everything and even though I was counting the days, I just never really thought that I would leave."
Sam sat up and frowned. "I think they call that Stockholm syndrome right? Where someone in a situation like that relates to their captor?"
"Yeah, right. It was what it was. We needed each other and I just tried to make the best of it."
"So what changed?"
"One day he brought another girl home." She waited for a reaction but Sam was silent so she continued. "I never saw her but I used to hear her screams through the walls and I'd lie there trying to block them out of my mind. It was like going back to the beginning but that wasn't even the worse thing."
"What could be worse?"
"The fact that I was jealous." She answered matter-of-factly. "The rage was incredible. I couldn't deal with it. He started to neglect me, I got no food or water and I realised that I had to do something or I was going to die. And I swore that if I died, I would go down fighting." She coughed and looked uncomfortable for the first time. "The night that it all ended, he came in and tried to strangle me. I don't know whether you could call it adrenaline or demonic possession but something snapped and I killed him. I was in such a daze, I left without the other girl. I just left her behind. I mean, they rescued her later but I will always feel guilty for not going back for her."
"Jeez, I thought I'd seen some stuff in my time but that's incredible but what does it have to do with you and Dean?"
"Ha, now this is the ultimate in kicks in the teeth Sam, you ready for the twist in the tale?"
He frowned wondering how it could possibly get worse.
"Oscar Walden came back as an vengeful spirit."
Sam went slack-jawed for a moment. Speechless, he just looked at her then shook his head trying to take it in. Finally he came to his senses.
"Holly, I don't know what to say. Was it Dean that found out? "
"Uh huh, he had a tip off from another Hunter and recognised the address of Walden's house. Of course he didn't tell me. He wouldn't. He told me he was going on a hunt and he tooled up really ready for battle but was being really evasive. Even when we didn't go together, he would always tell me where he was, how long he would be gone, you know? This time, it wasn't right and I knew it. So I did some snooping. Bobby, bless him let it slip and I don't think he's forgiven himself since. So once I knew I checked it out and it was true. God, I went crazy, like I had that night. I had vowed never to rely on another man in my life and in my mind at the time I felt that Dean had betrayed me but to him he was trying to protect me. That's what he does right?"
"What did you do?"
"Well, there wasn't any time to waste if I didn't want more people to die so something had to be done. I knew that if I confronted Dean then he would never understand that it was my fight and not his so I didn't. I waited for him in our motel room and then I did something that he can never forgive me for." She paused a second sitting upright with some difficulty to face Sam for the punchline.
"When Dean came home, I drugged him, tied him up and I left him there. I went back to my home town and I killed that evil son of a bitch for a second time, and by the time Dean got there, I had skipped town without a trace."
Sam huffed. "I know my brothers stubborn, but you have to know he just wanted to look out for you. He would have forgiven you."
"Are we talking about the same Dean Winchester? How would you feel if your wife drugged you and then left you hog-tied? Not good I bet. I know his intentions were good but if he had his way I never would have been hunting in the first place. I didn't want this to be about his revenge, his macho mission. It was me who needed to see that bastards bones burn once and for all. I'd faced him once on my own and knew I could do it again. He wouldn't have understood. I know that but I will always regret what it came to. I know that I seem detached from it all, it's just a coping mechanism but Dean's seen the real me and I think it terrified him, and that's why I couldn't face him. I couldn't bear the thought of him seeing me like the girl I was when I came out of that basement, we wouldn't have come back from that."
Sam stood up and went to look out the window. "Have you told Dean any of this?"
"He's pieced most of it together from various sources but we never talked about it for real, like he never talked about your mom. It was Bobby who told me about your family history."
"How can you marry someone and never tell them what you went through? Never reveal the truth?"
"Did you? With Jess?"
He turned around. She had expected him to be angry but instead, he was just sad.
"No, I never told Jess anything and I'll regret it forever."
"And I'm sorry for that Sam but why didn't you? You thought you were protecting her right? Well, that's ultimately what I was doing for Dean although how would he ever know that? I didn't want him to see me face up to my worst nightmare." She stood up propping herself against the table. "It took me years to get over it the first time and the second...Christ Sam, I was barely human."
"But what about later? Why didn't you contact him again? Why now?"
"Believe me, if I thought Bobby was going to contact him I never would have gone to him. But I will tell you something Sam, and it's the truth. I have missed your brother every day since I left him."
Sam, was mulling over everything that she had told him. How she had opened up to him in a way that she never could have done with Dean for fear of losing him and the fact that Dean had done exactly the same thing. They all thought they were doing the right thing but in the end had all ended up hurt as a result.
Walking towards her, he caught her up in a hug careful not to hurt her. She buried her face in his chest and relaxed in his embrace. How could she trust one brother so wholeheartedly with her body and the other with her feelings? Would Dean ever be able to understand?
Dean walked in a few hours later looking exhausted and dejected. They waited patiently for him to tell them something but eventually Sam could wait no longer.
Dean broke into a broad grin. "Dude who am I?"
"Is that a trick question?"
"Dude, I'm Matlock!"
Sam laughed, "I guess it went well then?"
"Yep, I think we may have a lead on the freak of the week. Talked to a very nice girl at the local sherrifs station and she filled me in on some gossip. Turns out Craven was the spawn of one of the County's most influential men, man practically built Sherwin from the ground up. Turns out his son wasn't all that he could be and that's when Daddy dearest cast him off to the next State using connections to get him a job with the State Police."
"Dean, we know this from the research I did, we know he had someone covering for him and that he wasn't exactly voted most popular at the Police Christmas party. We know he was a psycho so what?" Holly wondered whether there was something that she had missed.
Dean was serioius for a second. "You said that when he shot you in the leg it's cos you pushed his buttons right?"
She nodded. "It was common knowledge in the town that his mother and his sister had died under mysterious circumstances but no culprit was ever found. Nothing new, he had to have done it, like I said, your average killer."
"I don't know about that, there ain't nothing average about this dude. Turns out he's adopted, ever know that?"
She frowned, "No. What's the big deal though, it still fingers him."
Dean smirked "See, I did some digging in county records, cos you're not the only one who has an eye for research Sasquatch. Lewis Craven was adopted after his mother and sister died. Literally just months after." He waited for the information to sink in. "So he can't have killed them."
Sam was puzzled. "So he didn't kill them, maybe his father did it and Lewis turned bad through growing up with the town psycho."
"Sammy, you have no idea how much you are going to freak out when I tell you what I found out. Let me ask you Holly? Did Craven touch you, you know when you were at the hunting cabin?"
She shifted, looking uncomfortable for a second, then with no shame. "Well not in that way."
"So in all the reports we found of people that were murdered, there was sexual assault but no DNA to compare. As a cop he would have had DNA on record so maybe he's just covering his tracks. Right?"
He looked at them both and shook his head.
"Christ, it's a good job one of us has half a brain! I swear this will blow you away. Know the name of Lewis Craven's sister?"
She looked blank "No, no one would talk about his family, least of all him."
"That's cos Lewis Craven's sister was called Louise!"
He grinned waiting for the reaction. When none came he almost screamed.
"Lewis Craven IS his sister! Guys, think about it. It all makes sense. Tomboy with identity issues, kills mother. Father covers it up sends her away and all of a sudden there's a new kid in town!"
Holly's hand flew to her mouth. "Oh. My God!"
Sam looked like he was going to throw up. But Dean just laughed "See Sammy, with monsters you know what you're dealing with, humans are ten types of screwed in the head!"
Sam still looked uncomprehending "So what she had a sex change? Was that even done then?"
Dean looked weirded out for the first time. "Dude, I didn't go into the plumbing details. God! How the hell do I know? Maybe she just...oh God, I don't want to think about it."
Holly was deep in thought. "It makes perfect sense. That would certainly account for the rage, his mother couldn't accept him and he or she just wanted to be the son his father never had. All the violence, the displays of testosterone, all that macho bullshit." She stood up and ignorant of any pain she grabbed Dean around the neck. "You're a freakin genius!"
Dean was looking really smug now, "Hey, I know but no time for that now, we have to find this freakshow before he or she disappears for good. And just for the record, there's nothing wrong with macho bullshit. In a guy!"
"So where do we go from here?" Sam asked still looking like he had a bad taste in his mouth.
"Well we know that Daddy Warbucks has been covering up everything so I suggest that we pay him a little visit and see whether Norma Bates is hiding under his floorboards with a stack of Playboys."
In his moment of glory Dean forgot all about his issues and bent down landing a big kiss on Holly's mouth. "Ha!"
Slightly stunned she let go of him and dropped back down onto the bed. Dean was too happy to notice the expression on her face.
"C'mon Sammy, let's blow this joint. I'm on a roll and I can't wait to go meet this dude." He clapped his hands in glee.
"OK, Einstein, don't milk it. Do you think we should leave Holly here?"
"Hell yeah, she can't come."
They looked at her. She had a finger to her lips and was daydreaming but when she realised they were talking about her she snapped to attention. "Er, yeah, sure. Gimme a gun and some ammo. I'll be fine. I'll only slow you down."
Dean stood stock still. "What? No arguments? No, Dean, I can hunt as well as you? No, its my fight not yours?"
"Uh-huh" she said smiling softly. "You're right, I'm not well, I should just stay here."
Dean looked at Sam then out of the window searching for something.
"What you looking for Dean?" Sam asked.
"Oh, nothing, just flying pigs. Well, if that's settled then get your act together little bro, cos we're hunting the weirdest thing ever in the history of the Winchester clan; a cross-dressing badass serial killer!"
He had returned to his joyful self and with a punch to the air he left the room to go and get ready. Shrugging Sam followed.
Holly was still sat on the bed pondering this turn in events and the change in Dean's temperament when Dean came back in carrying a bag.
Dumping it on the floor, he took a seat next to her, the weight of his body made her roll into him on the bed so that they were shoulder to shoulder. He hooked an arm round her.
She smiled "Yeah, I'm gonna be fine, don't worry about me."
With his other hand he unhooked a .45 from his belt and placed it in her lap.
"I know I've been an ass, but I promise you something. I am going to find this bitch, or whatever it is and I'm gonna make her pay for what she did to you. Ok?"
"Sure, I know Winchesters always keep their word."
"Hell yeah, but I'm not making this promise as a Winchester. I'm making this promise as a man to his wife."
Lifting her chin, he kissed her once more and then got up to leave without turning back.
Sam sat shotgun as usual in the Imapla and waited for Dean to say something as they made their way into town.
Eventually Sam couldn't stand it any longer. "So what's the plan?"
"I vote for Plan A Sammy."
"Kick the mothers door down and ask whether he's harbouring a psycho chick with a dick."
"We can't just go knocking someone's door down. And she's not a chick with a dick"
"Have you ever heard of Haemaphrodites before?"
Sam sighed, "Dean, it's a medical condition that basically means that you're born with two sets of sexual organs."
"No, Dean, it means that you're born with both male and female anatomy."
"Are you kidding me? That's disgusting."
"A child could be born with two sets of reproductive organs and basically the parents have to choose what sex they want their child to be and sometimes they get it wrong."
"It's pretty sad when you think about it Dean, your parents choose a life for you and your instinct goes against it. It can't be good"
"Whatever, Dr Ruth. I'm sure that Victor Victoria had a miserable childhood but that's no excuse to go and murder people."
"You've seen Victor Victoria?"
"Dean, you do realise we're dealing with actual humans right?"
"Humans that can reproduce on their own? Hey, I watch the discovery channel!"
"That's worms Dean, not humans. We're dealing with a sick person here and I'm not sure that going in with all guns blazing is a good idea,"
"So do you have a plan b? Didn't think so. As far as I'm concerned, medical condition or not, this chick with a dick is getting fried tonight."
"Dean, I know there's a human being inside you somewhere so if you would like to ask that person to come out for a second to have a logical converstion."
"She told you didn't she?"
Sam's silence was enough to confirm his thoughts. "Hey, man, I know it must have been a shock to you and everything but since when was being a Winchester an easy thing?"
"Yeah we talked."
"She's cool isn't she? I mean, you should see her playing poker, I once saw her take six hundred bucks off of a gang of bikers!"
"Yeah, Dean she's cool but I just still don't get why you never told me. I mean, you obviously have a history."
"I dunno Sammy, I guess I always thought of myself as a loner and it was just another thing in my life that never worked out."
"A loner? Dean are you retarded? You've never been a loner in your life!"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Dean, you'll always be a part of a double act. You spent all your life with Dad. You went your own way with Holly but when she left that's when you came looking for me at Stanford. You've never been alone in all that time, you couldn't stand it."
There was silence for a couple of minutes until Dean could compose his thoughts.
"Yeah, I guess you're right, every hero needs a sidekick."
"I'm being serious Dean."
"I know you are Sammy and so am I, we're like Bonnie and Clyde, Mulder and Scully, Murtaugh and Riggs. C'mon Sammy you do one" He said, laughing.
"Er...Cagney and Lacey?"
"DUDE! What the...?"
Dean smirked "That Cagney was hot though wasn't she? And she liked her drink. Wooo!"
Sam was getting really troubled.
"What the hell happened to you today? Are you on something?"
Dean smiled "I just did some thinking, that's all Sam, and for some reason the world doesn't seem such a bad place at the moment."
"And that's nothing to do with a particular brunette in a motel room?"
Dean looked serious for a moment,"I dunno Sammy, things just don't seem so bad now, you know? Everyone has problems, we dealt with crap all our lives but then it's not like I spent two years in a dungeon...? Or even grew up a chick with a dick."
Despite himself Sam had to laugh at him. "So does that mean you forgive her?"
"I don't know, I just know that I don't hate her. She frustrates the hell out of me!"
"You know why that is don't you?"
"No, but I'm sure you're about to enlighten me."
"I can't believe you never realised before, I've only known her for a coupla days and even I can see she's the female equivalent of you."
"You're not getting all Discovery Channel on me are you?"
"Seriously, Dean, if you were a woman, you'd be Holly."
"Not so much, people are attracted to other people that resemble themselves. There are studies that show..."
Dean raised a hand to stop him, "You're such a geek."
"And you're in love."
"You heard me, you have feelings that you can't admit to and it's killing you. Dean, it's almost poetic, because you don't think enough of yourself that she can have those same feelings back."
"I am now officially uncomfortable."
"There's nothing wrong with you Dean, all you have to do is admit that you can have feelings for someone other than me and Dad."
Dean cast him a sideways glance. "You're such a wuss, you know that? "
"Are you saying you don't care for her?"
Dean turned around angrily, "I'd die for her."
"Dean, you'd die for a complete stranger if they needed you to, it means nothing. She's strong, she doesn't need you dying for her, She needs you to live for her,"
"You officially suck."
"I know I do."
It wasn't hard to find the Craven House, it was easily the largest in town. On the outskirts it sat on its own plot with a fence and an acre of ground.
Parking the Impala barely a block away, Dean retrieved everything that he needed from the trunk and made his way toward the mansion with Sam in tow.
"We can't just charge in there Dean."
Dean hoisted a sawn off shotgun onto his shoulder. "Wouldn't think of it Sam".
The gate was only eight foot tall and they vaulted it with no problem. The house was huge and Dean let out a low whistle when they were in the grounds "Guess the whole Crying Game thing payed off".
Sam despaired of his brother sometimes.
When they got to the massive oak front door, Dean made a feeble attempt at knocking.
"Looks like no one's home." He said getting his lock picking tools out of his jacket pocket.
In seconds the door was swinging open onto a huge foyer that was in complete darkness. Immediately aware of possible danger the two brothers hoisted their weapons and slowly made their way into the mansion. Being careful as they rounded corners they searched each room in turn which was no mean feat as the place was huge. The last room on the ground floor was the kitchen. Nothing.
Dean made to turn around to check upstairs when he saw Sam nodding at something behind him.
"What about that door?" he whispered.
Nodding Dean made his way toward the door and carefully opened it. It was the cellar.
Checking to see that Sam had his back Dean descended a narrow wooden staircase into the dank, dark hole.
When Dean reached the bottom, Sam saw him lower his gun. "Damn" he said "Daddy Warbucks I presume?"
Sam also lowered his weapon and quickly made his way down the steps. When he got to the bottom he saw an old man hanging by his neck from one of the rafters in the cellar. A chair was lying on its side and there was a note pinned to his shirt.
Stepping closer Sam squinted in the darkness to read out what was written.
'I can't cope with the guilt of my actions any longer and do not have the strength to denounce my only child whilst I live.
My wife and I made a decision many years ago and have been dealing with the consequences ever since.
To all those who lost their lives to the evil that is my son, I am sorry and will pay with my life.'
"Huh, looks like you were right Dean." Sam said still staring at the body.
He heard Dean gargle in response and whirled around. Dean was stood facing him, his entire body shaking. It took a couple of seconds to realise that Dean was being electrocuted.
Sam's response time was good but not good enough, before he could aim his gun toward the stairs he felt a searing pain in his shoulder. At the same time as Dean dropped to the floor unconscious, Sam looked down to see blood oozing from a bullet hole in his left shoulder.
He raised his weapon with his right hand but a figure was rushing towards him in the gloom and his aim was off. Sam was sidelined by a blow to the head and went down like a tonne of bricks.
Dean could hear someone calling his name. Was it Sam? He sounded far away. What was happening, why couldn't he move his arms or legs?
He heard his name again and tried to open his eyes. God, he felt like he'd been hit by a truck!
Yes, it was definately Sam.
"Dean! Wake up."
Sam's voice was thick and edgy with pain. This fact made Dean shake his lethargy away and open his eyes. His brother was in trouble.
He looked around and realised that he was tied to a chair in the cellar of the Craven Mansion. Instantly he tested the ropes at his wrists and ankles but they stuck fast. Wide awake now, he looked frantically around and saw Sam to his right also bound to a chair. There was blood on his shirt and Dean realised Sam had been shot.
"Sam, you ok?" There was panic in his voice as he struggled again with the ropes.
"Yeah, I'll live." He was putting on a brave front but it was clear that he was in agony worsened by the fact that the injured arm was pulled tightly behind him by the ropes.
"What the hell happened?"
Sam huffed "He electrocuted you and he shot me. Totally jumped us both. Must be slipping."
"Why's it always me getting electrocuted? Unbelievable."
"Getting shot's no walk in the park either Dean." Sam was unable to keep the grimace off his face. God, it hurt like hell. He needed to put some kind of pressure on it.
A voice came out of the darkness. "You boys got no idea of the world of pain I'm gonna inflict on you."
Dean was startled briefly but as the figure of Lewis Craven emerged from the shadows he put on his game face. Don't let them see any fear, he told himself.
"Really? What you gonna do, put on some Celine Dion?"
Craven stood in front of the brothers for the first time and he wasn't what Dean had expected. What had he expected? A butch lesbian type? Someone with some semblance of femininity but this guy was just...a guy. They had seen photos but how much can you tell from those?
Wearing muddy jeans, flannel shirt and a hunting jacket Craven wasn't tall, Sam would tower over him but he was heavy set and jowly with a smattering of facial hair and a bald patch. 'God, you'd make one ugly chick' thought Dean to himself.
"Very funny...Dean is it? Humour, good way to mask fear."
"Believe me, I ain't scared of you, Judy."
Craven's eyes narrowed and he reached under his jacket and unsheathed a ten inch hunting knife from his belt.
"Huh, don't scare easy?"
Dean smirked, "Why don't you come here and try me?"
Craven laughed and fingered the knife thoughtfully. "I've killed couples before you know. And you know what I always found fascinating? Seeing how brave a man would pretend to be in front of a woman. Some of them used to piss their pants, they used to beg...which is pretty funny but the ones that I used to love were the ones like you."
"You like the handsome ones huh? Figures."
"I like the ones that really were as brave as they said, you could do almost anything to them, cut off a finger or two, beat them, anything and they'd pretend it was a day at the park. That you Dean?"
"Yeah, I bet you're too cool to piss yourself or to scream but I bet if I do this..." lunging suddenly he plunged the knife into Sam's right thigh.
"...then I bet you'd really shit yourself."
"Sam!! Don't you goddamn hurt my brother you pyscho son of a bitch!"
An unimaginable scream came from Sam that cut to the core of Dean's soul.
"Bet you're scared now Dean. Arntcha?"
Every muscle and vein in Deans body was straining with the effort of breaking his bonds. The chair was screwed to the floor otherwise he would have tried charging him, anything to wipe that smile of the evil bastards face.
He looked over to Sam whose jaw was locked tight, the muscles in his arms aching with wanting to be released so he could remove the knife from his leg.
"I am going to enjoy killing you, you ugly freak! I'm going to tear your goddamn heart out and eat it!"
Dean had never felt rage like it in his life. Of all the things that he had ever fought, to be bested by a this spineless prick was more than he could handle. He had shot Holly and now he was torturing Sam in front of his eyes.
"See, people like you Dean, you don't care what happens to you. But I hurt someone you love and you'll be torturing yourself forever, it really is its own reward. I've been watching you."
Sam was whimpering and Dean's breath was coming out in grunts, his eyes slits of pure hatred.
"Oh, sure, I knew the game was up when that bitch escaped. Figured I had nothing to lose. I could have just disappeared into the woods and been a ghost but where's the fun in that? Better to go out in a blaze of glory, right Dad?" With a swing of his arm Craven slapped the old man on the back jovially and sent him swinging in a mad arc over the floor. Craven simply laughed. "So, when I heard that you were asking questions I thought of a new plan." Coming to Dean he pulled his arm back and punched him full force in the face. He shook his hand "Strong jaw, I'm impressed." Planting his feet wide apart he braced himself and punched Dean again.
Coughing Dean spat out a hunk of blood and stared back at his agressor. How the hell could he get out of this? Sammy couldn't carry on much longer, he had to get them out of this but how the hell was he going to do that? He struggled with the ropes but they held him tight. Goddamn it. He had nothing, his hands and feet were tied and the only weapon available was planted in Sam's thigh.
"Well I'd love to stay and chat." He made a show of checking his watch "places to go and people to see. I like you Dean, I knew I would, but really I just want to take my time with you and your little clan. I feel a little bad that you've been separated so I'm going to set up a little family reunion, just for you."
Dean's eyes narrowed.
"Room, 26 Heartland Motel isn't it? Good choice, nice and remote, not too much traffic but then again, I am a master at snatching people in plain sight."
"You touch her, you son of a bitch and I swear to God..."
"You'll do what Dean? Shout? Scream?" Craven leant down so that his face was only an inch from Dean's "No, you won't do any of those things Dean, but by the time I'm finished with you, you are going to cry. Don't think I can't do it either because it's my hobby and I'm real good at it."
Straightening up he went to leave. "Oh I almost forgot." Turning back towards them he punched Dean again and then leant towards Sam and nonchalantly pulled the knife from his leg, wiped it on a howling Sam's shirt and left.
"Sam? Sammy??!" Dean screamed.
Sam had blocked everything but pain from his mind and Dean couldn't get an answer. He had to focus on getting away and getting Sam out of there. All their lives depended on it.
Looking frantically around he looked for something that he could use to cut the ropes that tied his arms to the chair. He had an idea. A long shot but all he had.
Using all the strength in his entire body he began to rock violently trying to wrench the chair from the floor. It gave slightly after a second or two and so he gave it everything he had and soon one of the legs splintered and he fell to the floor with a crash. Winded but more determined than ever he found that the leg that had splintered had freed one of his ankles. Finally he'd caught a break.
"Don't worry Sammy, I'm coming, just hang in there ok?"
With his free leg he kicked at one of the wine racks next to him and soon enough one of the bottles came loose and crashed to the floor. Struggling to move whilst still tied to the chair Dean managed to position himself so that he could reach a jagged piece of green glass large enough to cut through the rope on his wrist.
"Hold on Sammy." He yelled through gritted teeth. "I'm coming ok? You just hang on!"
It seemed to take forever but was little more than five minutes before he could saw through the ropes but once he had it cut just enough he tensed his bicep and with an almighty roar he wrenched his wrist free. Within seconds he had the other hand and ankle free and was flying across the floor to his brother.
Wasting no time he began to untie Sam who was in a stupour. "C'mon little bro, I gotcha, see? I'm here, just like always. I'm getting you out of here."
When Sam was free he slumped forward, his head falling to Dean's shoulder. Dean clasped his face in his two hands. "Look at me Sammy, you're going to be ok, you hear me? I gotcha. We're getting outta here."
Standing up Dean grabbed Sam by the good arm and pulling it around his neck he hoisted Sam until he was standing. He was shaky to say the least and totally out of it but Dean had so much adrenaline running through his veins that he had enough strength for both of them.
He managed to drag Sam up the stairs in a Herculean effort and they made their way back through the huge house and out into the night.
When they got outside Dean was surprised but relieved to see the Impala sitting where they had left it.
"C'mon Sammy," he encouraged, getting him into the back seat. "I'm gonna take care of you I promise, just like always."
Dean took a couple of seconds to retrieve a gun and a knife from the trunk and then jumping into the drivers seat he gunned the engine and the car roared through the gate which had been left open. Craven had a good head start but if he drove fast enough then Dean prayed that he would make it to the motel in time to save Holly. He prayed to God that he wouldn't be too late.
Holly didn't like to sit still, it didn't come naturally to her and it killed her that she wasn't out on the hunt.
Her leg was in agony and her back was even worse but what was pain when all said and done?
She didn't want to take another pain killer, and she didn't want to sit in bed like an invalid either.
Dean had brought her bag from the diner and she was thankful for that. Unfastening it, brought a smile to her face. She had been gone for no more than three days but it felt like forever when she looked at her belongings in the relative strangeness of this room.
She tipped the contents out onto the bed and began to sift through them. A flimsy piece of material slipped through her fingers. Dean used to love me wearing this nightdress she thought to herself.
Standing up with some difficulty, she hobbled to the mirror and pulled the tee shirt and boxers off. Slipping the nightdress over her head was a struggle but worth it when she felt the silk slip over her sore body. Turning around she reached for her hairbrush and began to pull it laboriously through her hair. Static made the waist length auburn tressed crackle against her shoulders but by the time she was done it shone for the first time in a long time and she smiled to her reflection.
Sitting back down on the bed she looked over the rest of her things, and her hand touched upon a photo of herself and Dean taken over two years ago. It was the only one she had and it was worn around the edges from her touch. Even though she had memorised every little part of it she found herself staring at it once more. The photo was taken by Bobby on their wedding day, not that you would know. No bridal gown and button holes at this wedding. Just her and Dean in front of the Little White Chapel in Vegas wearing their jeans and biker boots. Holly had her arms round Deans waist and looking up into his eyes as he leant down to kiss her.
Holly sighed and putting everything away except the photograph which she left on the bedside table she lay back against the pillows and tried to relax and not think about what could be happening in Sherwin.
She must have drifted off to sleep because she came to with a start when she heard a muffled gunshot. Faint, yet unmistakable and enough to put the fear of God into her. Hurriedly she switched off the light and grabbed the .45. Pain forgotten she felt the blood pound in her veins as she placed herself behind the door of the motel room.
Instinctively Holly knew that something had gone horribly wrong. Dean would have come to get her if he was capable. She felt something tear inside her when she thought of him hurt or worse. Craven had come for her, that much she knew and it was up to her to stop him. She prayed that she had the strength. She slapped herself mentally and put herself back in Walden's dungeon. 'You did it then Holly, you can do it again'.
Taking even, deep breaths she braced herself.
The attack when it came was sudden and brutal. Clever, attack, loud and fast and give your opponant no time to respond. It's what Dean would have done.
As the door came crashing in, the force of it shook the whole room.
'He doesn't have anything to lose any more' She had time to think 'He doesn't care who knows he's here'.
The force of the blow sent Holly flying back into the wall and the gun dropped to the floor. She bent down to retrieve it but Craven must have realised that she was there and closing the door he calmly kicked the gun away.
"Well well, look at you all dressed like a hussy for your man." He laughed.
Leaning forward he grabbed Holly by the throat in a vice like grip.
'How the hell had they ever mistaken this sadistic monster for a girl? Jesus!'
Holly was on tiptoes as he moved her away from the wall.
"Well, I hate to disappoint but your boyfriend won't be coming by for a while. He said to say hi though and to give you this." Releasing her quickly he punched her in the face sending her reeling into the bedside table. Crashing down with a thud Holly felt the stiches in her side give and the familiar ooze of blood running down her side. She could taste copper in her mouth and wiped it with the back of her hand.
She struggled to get to her hands and knees and had almost made it when a steel toe capped boot came crashing into her side making her scream. The light was dim but as she lay writhing on the floor she could see the photograph next to her face. Be strong, she thought, hang in there.
"Where are they? What have you done to them bitch?" She looked up at the smiling Craven and saw pure madness in his eyes.
"I haven't killed them. Yet. We're waiting on you to join the party, then once he's watched you and his brother die a slow death I'll finish him off." He shrugged "Either that or I'll maim him for life, you know so he's truly miserable and alone."
"Like you Louise?"
Enraged Craven sent another kick flying into her side which she managed to partly block with an arm but it still hurt like hell.
"Don't ever call me that!" He yelled stomping on her bad leg.
Suck it up Holly, there's still a chance.As long as he's still alive there's always a chance.
"The police will be here soon, you won't get a chance to do anything."
"And tell me, who's going to call the police? I just killed everyone here." He pulled his knife out and she saw that it was dripping with blood.
Buy some time...do something
"Tell me something...why did you kill your mother and not your father? I mean, why let him live?"
Craven paused for a moment. "More of your psychoanalysis bullshit Holly? Christ, that's low." Crouching down over her he took her face in one hand holding the knife in front of her.
"If you wanna know, I had to keep one of them alive, I didn't want to end up in an institution. I was tempted to go for mom but in the end she just had to go, what a drag. So Dad it was."
He ran the knife along her collar bone and down toward the lace of the nightdress leaving a fresh trail of her blood in its wake. By now with the bullet wounds seeping badly the fabric was totally crimson. She could feel her body getting colder as all of her blood drained out of her.
This is it.
With startling clarity Holly knew she wasn't going to make it no matter what happened, and she knew like she had all those years before that she intended to go down fighting. Screw this.
Coming to her senses she smiled, and saw Craven's face drop.
"You're right Louise, it is psycho one oh one bullshit. Hell, what's the point? You were born a freak and some day you'll die a freak. Who knows, maybe today's that day."
Growling he pulled the arm carrying the knife back and Holly took the chance to draw back her own and in a move that she'd learnt from Dean she slammed her fist into his windpipe with everything she had.
His hand left her face and grabbed at his throat so she followed with a blow to the nose with the heel of her hand.
In her weakened state however it wasn't quite enough. As she twisted to her stomach on the floor and tried to kick away he recovered and was on top of her in an instant screaming with rage.
For the first time in over a decade Dean cursed the Impala for not going faster.
He was thankful the roads were empty as he hurtled toward the motel praying all the while that he wasn't too late.
Every now and again, he risked taking his eyes off the road ahead to look back at Sam who was being thrown around in the back.
"Stay awake Sam, don't fall asleep on me, I mean it. Stay with me Sam. I'm gonna go get Holly, kill that bastard then we're gonna get you fixed up ok?"
No matter what he said though Sam could merely groan, but at least he was still conscious.
After what felt like an eternity he could see the neon sign for the motel in the distance and he floored the gas.
Screeching into the parking lot he briefly glimpsed a shower of blood on the window of the front office and his heart jumped into his mouth.
"Please no..." He said as he ground to an abrupt halt in front of Holly's room.
Throwing the door open he palmed his knife and yelled at Sam to stay put.
He ran up to the door of number 26 and without missing a step he threw all his weight into a right-legged kick which almost tore it off its hinges.
Feeling like his skin would burst with the power of the blood pumping in his body he assessed the scene in front of him.
Craven was on top of Holly and there was blood. A lot of blood.
Without stopping to think he threw himself at the killers back and hooked his left arm like a vice around his neck pulling him off Holly in one movement. Dean's mouth was next to Craven's ear as the man tried to release the death grip.
"I told you if you touched her I'd kill you and I always do what I say." he growled.
Raising the hunting knife he plunged it with all his might into the flabby chest and twisted it. Craven gurgled and Dean let go of him, turning him to face him.
"Look at my face bitch," yanking the knife out Dean held it in front of the man's wild eyes "I want it to be the last thing you see before you go to Hell."
Grabbing his shirt front to steady him Dean plunged the kife once more into his body and yanked it upwards without his eyes ever leaving Craven's face.
Dean was panting heavily as the man dropped to the ground, dead before he made contact.
He took a second to compose himself. Some part of him knew it was over and he wanted to deny it for one more instant before his world disappeared around him.
You gotta be brave son, it's what's expected he could almost hear his fathers voice in his head.
Taking one more deep breath, Dean let the bloody knife drop to the ground at his feet. He finally made himself look at Holly, and his stomach clenched painfully.
Stepping over the dead body he dropped to his knees next to her mindless of the blood soaked carpet.
"Oh Jesus Holly..." he sighed looking at the new knife wound.
He hesitated to touch her, she was still breathing and he didn't want her to hurt more than she had to.
Tentatively he reached out a shaking hand and touched her stomach, flinching slightly as she did.
Her eyes fluttered open and she looked at him and smiled softly. "S'ok Dean." She said as though reading his mind "you can't hurt me."
Reaching down he cradled her to him and tried to steel himself.
"I'm so sorry..." he began
"Dean don't...please, don't blame yourself. Promise me?"
"I shouldn't have left you, I should have been there for you."
"You can't save everyone remember?...you used to say that."
Her voice was faltering and getting weaker. He heard a noise and saw Sam propped against the open door. Deans gaze met his, pain etched into his features. Looking back at Holly he tried to compose himself but his voice was breaking.
"Please don't leave me...I promise I won't be such an ass, we can start fresh, give up this bullshit job. Just...don't go."
Her voice was barely audible by now, he was losing her and there was nothing he could do about it, he was powerless.
"You have to carry on, people need you."
"I need you...Look." He shifted slightly to free his hands. Shaking badly he twisted the ring on his right hand and pulled it off. As she watched he placed the ring on the third finger of his left hand. He held her again "Look, you're stuck with me." He said smiling.
"Til death us do part, that was the deal..." She reached up to put a hand on his face and felt a tear wash over her fingers "I always loved you...you know that?...this isn't your fault."
"C'mon, please don't go, who's going to kick my ass and beat me at poker?"
She smiled and her breathing faultered.
"Dean..." She managed. "...so sorry, have to tell you."
Standing in the doorway Sam could hardly bear to watch, he could see that she was slipping away and watched his brother more scared than he had ever seen him.
Holly whispered something into Dean's ear and Sam watched as his older brothers face crumbled. Lowering his face to hers, he kissed her and she was gone.
For several long moments Dean stayed there holding her, until he looked up again and saw Sam. Then, slowly he picked Holly's body up and walked towards his tearful younger brother.
"Let's go Sammy."
...or is it??
This is my first Fanfic and I hope you liked it. I know, it's slightly on the bizarre side but I tried to fit in all my favourite elements and play around with others!!
There could be a continuation following on from whatever it was that Holly finally whispered to Dean, but you'll have to let me know if you want more and I will oblige.
Thanks for reading!